This paper examines the question of whether or not Canadians today should be proud of their country’s history between 1800 and 1885. As the period under consideration represents a very volatile time in the history of Canada, it is important to examine both proud and disreputable moments during this time frame. We try to pinpoint and underline the rise of democracy and the formation of Canada as a sovereign state, as well as touch on the unjust and discriminatory treatments towards native inhabitants. Together, these facts manifest that in such a critical point in history, there are aspects and events to be both proud of and ashamed of. Thus, it is my opinion that Canadians today should be proud of the accomplishments achieved during this time frame, but also be thoughtful and reflective of the moments that they don’t want to be repeated.
As already mentioned, the time period under consideration in the history of Canada accounts for both proud and not so proud moments. Hence, it is important to elaborate on both of those and bring some examples to strengthen each side of the argument. Of course, one of the proudest moments in the Canadian history is the push for confederation and the establishment of Canada as a country. The successful struggle for acknowledging and realizing a nation’s right to independence and sovereignty is one of the pillars of the modern Canadian state. Along with the struggle for independence, Canada also followed a democratization process, thanks to which the authoritarian governing practices slowly but surely gave way to more pluralistic institutions and governing styles. This too has very much contributed to the shape and posture of today’s democratic and developed Canada. Moreover, during the 1800’s, the construction and completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway (1881-1885) has laid the foundation for a united and interconnected country.
On the other side of the token, there have been quite a few events during the 1800’s that would not make today’s Canadians proud. One of the biggest criticisms towards the government of the time is their discriminatory and harsh stance towards the native inhabitants of the land. As part of the westward expansion, the settlers have consistently discriminated against the natives and have settled on the lands that were already inhabited by natives. The Red River Rebellion of 1869-1870 and the Northwest Rebellion of 1885 mark the natives’ anger at the means used by settlers. All in all, the settlers and the government had no consideration for the native peoples’ rights and their ownership claims to the land that was inhabited by their ancestors for centuries. In addition to the discriminatory actions against natives, there was also significant discrimination against French-Canadians after the British had taken over French Canada. French people living there were under the threat of assimilation and were constantly being mistreated.
To conclude, it is important to point out once more that there were both proud and shameful moments in the history of Canada between 1800 and 1885. The discrimination against native populations and the unjust means deployed for achieving the westward expansion can never be justified by today’s Canadians. Thus, today’s Canadians should be mindful of the pain and sufferings that many people have endured during this time. On the other hand, Canada has made significant progress and has crossed historic milestones that cannot be ignored. The establishment of Canada as a country, growth of inclusive and democratic institutions, and the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway are all events to be proud of. All in all, Canadians today should be proud of the achievements and mindful of the damages that this time period in their history has recorded.